Despite my reservations, I am wandering the streets of the town in the company of several people with whom I have little in common. The evening has been dominated by seemingly random sallies into pubs populated almost exclusively by large men in vests, with whom I have absolutely nothing in common.
Every glance upwards reveals a sky that has been soaked the colour of undistinguished lager. Every time I attempt to join in the obvious jollity of the occasion I am drowned out by the inadvertant yelping of my compatriots, and I resort to adopting a vacuous yet friendly expression whenever any enquiry is directed in my direction.
We stand in a huddle of indecision outside a brightly-lit doorway, and earnest debate fall around my ears as I watch, with unbelieving nausea, a chef in the chip shop opposite shoo a flaming, but living, pigeon from the window of his establishment. The flying, sputtering lump of flame erupts from the window with an erratic path that is subsumed from my attention by an enquiry from my colleagues regarding money. I answer with rapidity, only to turn my gaze back to find the burning bird has disappeared from my view.
After an eternity of boredom we emerge from the club. The pigeon is lying in the gutter, curiously expanded, horribly burnt, utterly dead.